2021 In The Press

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Why the Capitol Riot Reminded Me of War

The New York Times

The video I watched was made by a young man identifying himself as John Sullivan who goes by the name Jayden X online. His commentary runs throughout the video. After breaching the first line of barricades, he says breathlessly: “I can’t believe this is reality! We accomplished this …! We did this [expletive], together!” And then: “This is [expletive] history!” That sense of being part of history and the attendant thrill in Mr. Sullivan’s voice is certainly something that I experienced in combat.

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CAPITOL RECORDS

Artforum

The assault on the Capitol on the afternoon of January 6—the first hostile occupation of the building since Washington was sacked and set ablaze by British soldiers in 1814—is one of the most shocking attacks on a civic institution in United States history. It is also among the most self-documented. It is in that context which one must consider the thirty-nine-minute digital video titled by its maker John Sullivan, aka Jayden X, Shooting and Storming of the US Capitol in Washington DC.

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‘I Don’t Think She Deserved to Die’: Black Activist Who Filmed Ashli Babbitt Shooting Speaks Out

Rolling Stone

John Sullivan, a.k.a. Jayden X, is a civil rights activist and crowdfunded video journalist. On January 6th, he donned a bulletproof vest and embedded himself in the masses that President Trump had incited to storm the Capitol. Sullivan scrambled up scaffolding and repeatedly weaved through a crush of rioters to record clashes between the mob and law enforcement. He emerged with a raw, hour-and-a-half frontline documentary of the day’s violent and chaotic events. He captures now-notorious figures from the riot, including the shirtless, face-painted “QAnon Shaman” and the bearded rioter dressed in a grotesquely anti-Semitic “Camp Auschwitz” sweatshirt. Crucially, Sullivan’s camerawork captured the shooting of 35-year-old mob member and Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt, who was killed by the Capitol Police while attempting to clamber through a broken window into the Speaker’s Lobby off the House floor.

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When Reporting Becomes a Defense for Rioting

The New Yorker

John Sullivan, also known as Jayden X, calls himself an activist, a reporter, or an entrepreneur, depending on who’s asking. When I first reached him by phone, he told me that he was “a video journalist, or maybe a documentarian, or whatever you would say—going out there and just live-streaming the events that are transpiring, so that people can see it on the Internet.”

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Antifa, cameraman or criminal? The Utahn behind a Capitol riot enigma

Deseret News

Sitting in his Murray town house in July, the mild demeanor of John Sullivan contrasts sharply with the events that took place at the nation’s Capitol on Jan. 6. A statute of Buddha graces Sullivan’s mantle. The back of his right hand, which he uses to gesture as he speaks, has a tattoo of the “all-seeing eye” atop a pyramid. “It’s for self-reflection,” he tells me.

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2020 In The Press

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Park protest pushes against police brutality

Deseret News

“Racism is still real in America and that needs to change,” said John Sullivan, of Sandy. “It’s not enough to voice your words, put those words into action ... make change happen.”

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Readying for war: Inside an armed right-wing group in Utah

The Washington Post

The Utah Citizens' Alarm is a self-styled militia that formed in response to protests for racial justice this spring. The group’s leaders claim they are trying to protect their community, but experts warn they are part of a worrying trend of Americans taking the law into their own hands.

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Provo protests non-violent despite community concerns

The Daily Universe

The Black Lives Matter protest organizers condemned violence in their speeches. Insurgence founder John Sullivan warned protesters not to engage with any armed counter-protesters who might try to antagonize them to incite violence.

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'RIGHT TO PROTEST' Black Lives Matter protesters in stand off with pro-Trump counter group armed with rifles on streets of Utah

The U.S. Sun

But John Sullivan, the founder of Insurgence, encouraged those gathered in support of racial equity to ignore and turn their backs on the taunters.

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20 Men With Guns Confront Solo Armed Black Protester at Utah Capitol

Newsweek

A group of around 20 armed men confronted a black male taking part in a solo demonstration at the Utah State Capitol in protest at police brutality and the treatment of African Americans in the country.

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The New Neighborhood Watch: After Protests, Utah Sees Birth Of Different Armed Movements

KUER 90.1

When Black Lives Matter protests kicked off in Utah in late May, John Sullivan noticed a lot of the leaders were white.

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Protest In Provo Met With Armed Group 2 Days After Shooting

KSL TV

A group of protesters to took the streets in Provo to spread their message of racial equality Wednesday night two days after a shooting during a similar demonstration

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Opposing groups gather in Provo after SUV driver was shot at Monday protest

The Salt Lake Tribune

At the intersection of Center Street and 300 West, a group gathered before the Provo Police Department to demand racial equity and an end to police brutality. Wearing black shirts and carrying signs that said “Black Lives Matter” and “Jail Killer Cops,” the group chanted “I can’t breathe” and “No one’s safe in a racist system.”

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The birth of a militia: how an armed group polices Black Lives Matter protests

The Guardian

The citizen militia’s recruits wear military fatigues and carry assault rifles. Their short-term goal, they say, is to act as a physical presence of intimidation to deter protesters from becoming violent and destroying the state of Utah. Their long-term goal: to arm and prepare the state of Utah against underground movements they believe will incite civil war.

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More than 20 armed men show up at Utah Capitol during small demonstration against police violence

The Salt Lake Tribune

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